.- Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq has denounced the death sentence imposed upon former Vice Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. He called the punishment an âact of vengeanceâ that âwill not help bring about peace.â
Aziz, the country's former deputy prime minister, is also Catholic.
According to Vatican Radio, Archbishop Sako said Azizâs conviction was âunjustâ because everyone in Iraq knows that "he could not oppose the government of Saddam Hussein, since those who dared to express a different opinion were killed.â Those who are members of an authoritarian government are âtrapped,â he continued.
The archbishop underscored that death penalty convictions are acts of vengeance and âsigns of the government's weakness.â He said the new Iraq should prohibit the death penalty âso that the country can truly developâ and move âtowards democracy and reconciliation.â
The death penalty is âan offense against the person,â he noted, and the international community has the duty to call on governments to ban it.
The Associated Press reported Nov. 22 that Aziz will seek a presidential pardon rather than appeal the conviction.